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What To Do After A Tooth Extraction : The Big Questions

2016 10 11
In the days following a tooth extraction, it helps to know what to do and what you can expect. Here we provide you with a few handy tips……

What should I do after I have had a tooth extracted?

For most people, recovery after a tooth has been removed will only take a short period of several days. It can be split into two distinct periods - the first 24 hours, and the time after that. (Source: WebMD)

What should I do during the first 24 hours?

Get as much rest as possible, avoid exercise, and keep your head up to avoid encouraging bleeding. There may be some bleeding during this time. If this happens, do not rinse, but press down on the socket. You can also bite down on the affected area with a clean cotton pad, such as a clean handkerchief, for around 15 minutes. If the bleeding continues, you should consult your dentist. (Source: OHF)

You should also avoid alcohol, because it can increase the chances of bleeding and stop the clotting which is essential to recovery. Avoid rinsing your mouth because it also slows clotting and recovery in the tooth socket. However, you should continue to brush, but be careful with the affected area. (Source: OHF)

Can I smoke a cigarette?

You should avoid smoking because this can increase your blood pressure and delay recovery. You should ideally do this as long as possible, but at least until the end of the day of the extraction.

What can I do to assist the recovery process?

Recovery times vary for each person. Keeping your mouth clear of food residue, and avoiding rinsing should initially allow the affected area to clot and begin healing.

Salt water (medium hot water containing a small spoonful of salt) can be used as a mouthwash twice each day, for however long your dentist advises. A balanced diet and vitamin C supplements can also help recovery. (Source: OHF)

What should I do if I’m experiencing discomfort?

If you are experiencing pain, you can take over the counter pain medication. You should read the instructions, and avoid using aspirin as this thins blood and can delay recovery. If you have breathing problems like asthma, you should also avoid ibuprofen.

If the pain is excessive, you can also consult your dentist or pharmacist for further advice. (Source: OHF)

What kind of complications can occur?

Sometimes, the socket becomes infected, which is known as ‘dry socket’. The symptoms of dry socket can include a bad taste in the mouth, and a bad smell. The dentist may need to add some dressing and provide a prescription of antibiotics. (Source: OHF).